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Tool path generation for pattern sculpting on free-form surfaces

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Sculpting pattern onto free-form surfaces is a potential method for many applications such as jewelry, glass blowmolding, injection molding, even automatically spray painting on the surfaces, etc. In this paper, a method of tool path generation for pattern sculpting on free-form surfaces is developed. First, 2D pattern is converted into discrete data points for tool path generation from digital image using image processing technique. To map the discrete pattern onto the part surface, mesh mapping is introduced, which is used for flattening the part surfaces onto a plane. On this plane, the discrete pattern is scaled, rotated, and translated to a desirable location. Then using the mapping of the part surface to the plane as a guide, the pattern to be sculpted is inversely mapped back onto the part surface. On this basis, according to the selected cutter and the depth of cut, the tool path is generated. Since the method does not rely on processing on the surface parametric domain, it is not limited to single surface patch, and is also equally applicable to multiple trimmed surfaces and mesh surfaces, etc. During calculation of the projected pattern, the proposed method does not involve any iterative numerical procedures, thus it is also robust and efficient. Finally, the method is implemented and tested on several typical examples to verify its validity.

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Correspondence to Jinting Xu.

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Xu, J., Zhang, X., Wang, S. et al. Tool path generation for pattern sculpting on free-form surfaces. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 67, 2469–2476 (2013).

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  • Pattern sculpting
  • Free-form surface
  • Tool path generation
  • Mesh mapping